“True to its innovative DNA, Starwood Hotels & Resorts once again announces an industry first, this time by redefining the age-old arrival experience”, according to what Christopher Carman — who is the social media specialist at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide — posted in the Starwood Preferred Guest forum on Milepoint back on Monday, January 27, 2014. “Coming soon, travelers can opt-out of traditional check-in completely — no more lines, visits to the front desk, swiped credit cards, or even keys — and instead use their smart phone to check-in and open their guest room door. A truly keyless check-in allows the first guest interaction with hotel associates to be personal rather than transactional.”
Carman — who posted as InsideFlyer member SPG Champion 2 — then announced the implementation of the new technology known as SPG Keyless on Monday, November 3, 2014. “Earlier this year we announced a pilot that allowed for a truly mobile check-in experience. Today, we are excited to introduce SPG Keyless, powered by the SPG app; members can now use their phone as their room key. SPG Keyless is available across 10 hotels worldwide and will expand to all Aloft, Element & W Hotels globally early next year.”
Members of InsideFlyer — then known as Milepoint — discussed the new technology. InsideFlyer member VeryGoodPoints gave a complete review of her experience with SPG Keyless, concluding it with this statement on a positive note: “This is a great feature and I can’t wait until its rolled out to more hotels.”
Well, the wait has been long coming; but further progress has finally been announced.
Announcing the Next Generation of SPG Keyless by Starwood
The functionality of the SPG Keyless technology has now been extended to select Le Méridien, Westin, Sheraton, and Four Points hotel and resort properties worldwide — joining the Aloft, Element, and W hotel and resort properties which already provide guests access to SPG Keyless at greater than 160 properties in over 30 countries — and additional hotel and resort properties will be going live with SPG Keyless on a rolling basis in the coming months.
“The wider roll-out of SPG Keyless acknowledges the role mobile is playing as the remote control for travelers’ stays across a broader range of brands”, according to this official press release from Starwood Hotels and Resorts. “Now even more guests can share in the SPG Keyless experience by unlocking their doors with their smartphone.”
The SPG Keyless technology will also enable multiple guests sharing the same room to take advantage of keyless entry. All which is needed is a Starwood Preferred Guest frequent guest loyalty program account and the Starwood Preferred Guest mobile application software program for portable electronic devices. Mobile capabilities to check into a hotel or resort property will also be expanded; and the update is expected sometime within the next few months.
Hilton Worldwide offers a competing yet similar technology known as Digital Key; and an incentive of 2,500 Hilton HHonors frequent guest loyalty program points was once offered just for using it. Look for other lodging companies to eventually adapt a similar technology in the future.
Not everyone is convinced that electronic keyless entry is the way to go to check into a hotel or resort property and then unlock the door to the hotel room with a portable electronic device, as some guests still find key cards to be convenient — as well as the security aspect of the technology has not yet been proven in the “real world.”
In fact, Starwood Preferred Guest had in the past offered incentives of both 1,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points and 2,500 Starwood Preferred Guest points to go keyless; but there does not currently appear to be any sort of incentive to use this technology.
InsideFlyer member viguera probably put it best: “I guess time will tell how useful this is going to be in the end.”
Source: Starwood Preferred Guest.